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View Diary: What Is Liberalism?--#4: The Argument 4 Religious Freedom--Part A (7 comments)

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  •  On Lutherans (none)
    Well, I'm a Lutheran, though not an expert by any means. But I'll tell you that the defining characteristic of my church, and one of the reasons I've been so loyal to it despite it being a bit dogmatic for my personal beliefs is that it's primary concern has always been spreading the tolerance and absoluteness of God's forgiveness of everyone, which meant you could judge no one. The personal relationship with God. Basically, the fundamental prinicples taught (and I was brought up in an ECLA church, so apparently it's evangelical, whatever that means in Lutheran land) were that God has limitless patience and forgiveness and will forgive you no matter what. The no matter what is key, because God will forgive you no matter what horrible thing you did and if everyone else hates you, God still loves you.

    The reason it's important is because this is where I believe the liberalism of Lutheranism generates. We are all loved equally be God limitlessly, and if God does not judge, neither should we. Essentially, we are in no place to question the personal relationship with God any other individual has, because God loves him and forgives him. If someone wants to defame God, God will love him anyway. That doesn't mean we shouldn't spread the word and let people know that if they want God's forgiveness they can have it. But tolerance is huge.

    It's why I call my church the "kum-ba-yah" religion, because we sit around singing about how much God loves us and think happy thoughts about limitless love. Really hippy stuff, if you think about it.

    "The truth is never pure and rarely simple"--Oscar Wilde

    by VirginiaBelle on Wed Aug 24, 2005 at 08:43:30 AM PDT

    •  From my Unitarian-Raised Perspective... (none)
      I have great respect for your tradtion.  

      It's hard to say this without sounding snide in some way, but it sounds like you are (gasp!) actual Christians.  You actually read the Gospels a lot, rather than spending all your time trembling over Revelations.

      Sorry if that sounds sarcastic.  This latest circus with Robertson has left a bad, bad taste in my mouth.  Having that sort of tolerant attitude toward folks like him must really try your faith.  

      Me, I recall "by their fruits ye shall know them," and I just can't honestly say he's a Christian.

      •  Well (none)
        That's a curse of Pentacostalism, Fundamentalism, and Evangelicalism.

        Evangelicalism isn't in itself bad except that it can lead towards a looking of "who needs to be saved?" Well, determining that someone is in need of saving is judging.

        Pentacostalism makes people think that because they had a direct experience with God, all of their independent beliefs must be those of God. i.e. the Holy Spirit came to me and spoke to me. All of my beliefs must be inspired by the Holy Spirit. When someone disagrees with me, they are disagreeing with the Holy Spirit.

        And fundamentalism, well, it's not just that they take everything literally, even the contradictory parts, and act as if there was no interpretation necessary, but it's that they make a conscious decision to take the strict moral code by which they live, and apply it to everyone and everything else. In other words, it is not enough that at you don't listen to Howard Stern. Nobody else should, either. It's not enough for you to be socially conservative, you have to try to convert people to political conservatism with the same vigor you convert the "heathens" they speak of in the Bible. Very dangerous, that fire and brimstone stuff. And very much missing the message beyond the words, in my view.

        And you end up with Robertson's who don't really know the difference between their own political beliefs and their religious beliefs, and have become such political figure that they're spirituality is curbed. Like Jessica Simpson. Remember when she was the virgin?

        "The truth is never pure and rarely simple"--Oscar Wilde

        by VirginiaBelle on Wed Aug 24, 2005 at 09:25:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Experience And Belief (none)
          The experiential side of Pentecostalism always seemed cool to me. Not that I wanted to go out and join them, but it seemed like a way to get outside of ego-centric consciousness.  But the way it interacts with beliefs seems to often be toxic.  It's almost as if it's a form of psychic crack, a too-easy way to get beyond ego-centrism.

          But, then, I have a met a few Pentecostals in my life who were truly loving, open, incredibly generous people.

          Evangelicals... well, even James Wallis seems to always have this low background hum of hostility to the likes of me going on in the background of everything he has to say--and I consider him a tremendous good influence overall.  (I am hard to categorize, a secular humanist for most practical outward purposes, but inwardly still the Unitarian teenager at heart who tries to see the value in every tradition--a task that's grown harder, not easier for me over the years.  Ghandi, King and Einstein are good spiritual representatives, to me.)

          As for fundamentalists... have you read Karen Armstrong's The Battle For God?  I think her comparative historical examination of different manifestations in Islam, Judaism and Christianity is extremely enlightening.

          p.s. I try hard not to know anything about Jessica Simpson.  It's hard enough work not knowing anything about Brittney Spears.

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